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Are you ready for braces? What types should do you hope to get? Maybe clear aligners are more your thing. Whatever you choose, it doesn’t hurt to go to your orthodontist’s office with knowledge of braces and how to care for them. 

Smiles by the Bay is ready to get you a smile you’ll love, and we’re happy to answer any questions you will have. We have a few basic facts you might want to know before you see us. This will give you an idea of what to expect with your orthodontic treatment.

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What Are Braces?

Let’s start with the basics: What are braces, and what do they do? Orthodontic treatment has been around in some form or another since ancient times. The practice of orthodontics took off in the 1700s. In the 1970s, new types of adhesive allowed for the use of brackets and bands similar to what we use today. 

How do braces work? They are made up of a series of brackets and bands that are adhered to the teeth. An archwire connects all the brackets and bands and applies gentle pressure on the teeth that moves them into their proper positions. 

Braces are used to correct all kinds of dental problems, including:

They straighten your teeth, making it easier to bite, chew, brush, and floss. Straighter teeth are easier to clean, leading to less tooth decay and fewer cavities.

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What Are the Types of Braces?

Braces have come a long way from the huge brackets and wires your parents or grandparents may have worn. As technology advances, braces have improved in size, efficiency, and materials. 

In the past, braces were big and noticeable, made only of stainless steel. But now, braces have changed a lot. 

Here are the different types of braces we use today. 

  • Metal braces. Modern braces are smaller and fit better on teeth, making them more comfortable and able to move teeth faster.
  • Clear ceramic braces. These braces are like metal braces but have ceramic brackets that match the color of your teeth. This makes them less visible. 
  • Lingual braces. These braces fit on the back and inside of the teeth instead of the front and outside. Lingual braces are not suitable for everyone. However, they are a good option for people who desire invisible braces but still require teeth straightening.
  • Self-ligating braces. These braces are similar to traditional metal braces but don’t use elastics to hold the archwire in place. Instead, they use their own built-in methods to hold the archwire in place. 
  • LightForce braces. These braces are created using 3D printing. They utilize trays to accurately position the brackets on the teeth. This ensures effective movement and reduces discomfort. 

In addition to braces, we also have clear aligners such as Invisalign as a treatment option. Invisalign is different from braces. It uses two trays, one for the upper teeth and one for the lower teeth. The trays are custom-molded to your teeth to move them into place. 

Invisalign can be used with many orthodontic cases, but not all. Some patients do better with braces. When you schedule an appointment with Smiles by the Bay, we will evaluate your dental issues and discuss your 

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Best Age for Kids to Get Braces

What is the earliest my child can get braces? We’ve heard that question a lot. The American Association of Orthodontists recommends an orthodontist evaluate children by age 7. 

Children can get two-phase braces. Usually, this involves Phase I, where we place appliances to prepare the child for braces in Phase II. This could include spacers for crowded teeth, a palate expander for a small jaw, or a tongue crib to stop thumbsucking habits. 

Not every child needs two-phase braces. That is something your orthodontist can evaluate when you have that first visit

How Long Do Braces Take?

One of the first questions new patients have is, “How long will I wear braces?” The answer for treatment times isn’t a simple one. It depends on how many dental issues need to be fixed and how severe they are. 

When we evaluate you for braces, we will develop a treatment plan to include how long your braces will take. On average, braces take 12-24 months, and clear aligners 9-15 months. Again, your case is unique, so the amount of time you are in braces may be longer or shorter. We’ll let you know! 

Do Braces Hurt?

You may have some discomfort when you first get braces. However, that should fade within a few days. Contact us if it lasts longer than a week. We can make some adjustments to solve the problem. 

You may also feel mild discomfort after your braces are adjusted during office visits. This is normal and should go away after a couple of days. 

You can relieve your discomfort by rinsing your mouth with salt water. You can also take an over-the-counter pain reliever as instructed on the bottle. Eat soft foods for the first few days after getting your braces or getting an adjustment.

How Do I Care for My Braces?

You may think it’s complicated to care for braces, but it’s easier than you think! The first step is an easy one — brush and floss regularly. You need to brush your teeth at least twice daily for two minutes at a time. You should floss at least once a day. 

Flossing may seem difficult, but you can floss like a pro with the right tools! Use a floss threader to get around the wires. 

Floss threaders are available at most pharmacies and major retailers. In addition, you can use water flossers to rinse between teeth. Just remember, water flossers don’t scrub like dental floss, so they should be a supplement, not a substitution! 

You can use a good, alcohol-free mouthwash for added protection. Use it at least half an hour after brushing so the fluoride in your toothpaste has time to work on strengthening your enamel. 

We’ll give you a list of foods to avoid during orthodontic treatment. In general, you want to avoid crunchy, sticky, or chewy foods that can damage your braces. 

Finally, ensure you keep your office appointments with us and regular cleaning appointments with your dentist. Visit your dentist often for teeth cleaning and check-ups. 

Getting Braces in Annapolis, MD

Braces are a big step toward getting a healthier, more beautiful smile. Straight teeth improve your oral health. 

Now that you know all about braces, are you ready to take the next step? If so, schedule an appointment with Smiles by the Bay for braces in Kent Island, Denton, or Annapolis, MD. We’d love to see what we can do for your smile!

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